Irrational options

Originally written on 9 July 2013 – humour intended rather than offence.

My irritation with the month long Mandela machine marathon has inspired me to write a few alternative endings to the drama, no one likes predictable endings. It’s a multiple choice story.

Option 1: An experienced nurse is promptly sacked after revealing the truth to the media – Mandela is not on life support, he has died long ago. The rand and the petrol price go to hell in the consequent media scandal. The nurse flees to Russia where she hides out with Edward Snowden at the airport. They fall in love and marry and Snowden eventually starts publishing moving romantic stories. He is dubbed the American Tolstoy in Russia. Afrikaans poets Antjie Krog and Fanie Olivier both write poems about the scandal in SA.

Option 2: Shortly after all life support measures were suspended a wide awake journalist photographs Mandela in Ventersdorp. An old white male figure appears on the photograph as well. YOU Magazine has the exclusive – it’s Elvis. Carte Blanche prepares a special hour long programme with experts discussing the authenticity of the photo and the identity of the people in it. Mandla threatens with a court interdict, but the judge won’t have it. Edward Snowden claims the NSA has known the truth all along.

The photographer flees to the United States where he suspiciously dies of a heart attack despite not having a family history of heart disease and being very young. Joel and Ethan Coen make a film about the saga. George Clooney wants the main part, but is too old.

The rand and the petrol price in SA remain as shitty as ever.

Option 3: On 18 July all important figures are present for life support measures to be withdrawn, but seconds after all machines have been turned off, Mandela opens his eyes and asks for a cup of Rooibos tea. The next day he announced his return to party politics and forms a new political party. Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr joins as his deputy.

Julia Gillard emigrates to SA and becomes Zuma’s next wife. She is fed up with sexism in Australian politics and men who cannot make up their mind about marriage. Zuma builds a large extension to his house and imports hordes of kangaroos to help Gillard feel more welcome. The Sunday Times features an in depth report about the cost of each kangaroo.

A great number of expatriates living in Aus follow Gillard back to SA. JM Coetzee refuses to come back until SA has taken definite measures against rhino poaching.

For months South Africans are caught up in a renewed spirit of patriotism, the likes of which has not been seen since the 1995 rugby world cup. They are so inspired that the Cheetahs play against the Bulls in the Super Rugby final. The Cheetahs win the trophy when Morne Steyn misses a sitter of a penalty from in front of the posts in the last minute of the game. Afterwards he promptly leaves South Africa to continue his rugby career in Japan.

A mere month after that famous cup of Rooibos, Mandela leaves for Egypt where he quickly solves the current political crisis. On his way back, he also quickly sorts out matters in Syria.

Steve finally saves the South African rhino population by housing all rhinos at Ellis Park – the Lions rugby union is disbanded and the Kings continue in the Super Rugby series.

Lester Venter writes a follow up to “When Mandela Goes” entitled “When Mandela Goes Again”. Once again it is heavily criticized by Max du Preez.

Mandla and Malema are captured by Mugabe after a botched attempt to invade Zimbabwe. The South African government declines to intervene and neither is ever heard from again.

To contest the next South African election Mandela and Steve call their party the Manstevas and launch their campaign called “Potjiekos én Pap … mét eish.” Steve composes and sings a hit song for the campaign and Mandela dances to the song at all political rallies. The song’s success helps to fun their campaign.

Zuma and Gillard fight back by visiting impoverished communities around the country. Many voters in these communities complain about being utterly confused about who to vote for. Zuma assures them that there will be clear photographs of party leaders on election ballots. On election day the story breaks on Facebook first: Zuma’s face appears next to that of the ANC, but Steve’s face next to the Manstevas. The two parties end head to head.

In the future SA has a two party democracy like the USA version instead of just the ANC. The rand and the petrol price recover slightly.


Option 4: Zuma is caught trying to switch off the life support machines himself during the middle of the night. A bloody civil war between the Xhosa and Zulu people follow and …

  1. South Africans who are not killed leave the country in great numbers. The country is left empty. The USA buy up the whole place for next to nothing and use Bloemfontein for testing controlled nuclear explosions and store nuclear waste in the great hole of Kimberley.


  1. Many civilians die and many flee. The economy is left in tatters. Russia buy SA cheaply and Putin bans all homosexuals to SA. Most of the Russian population leave, claiming to be gay, because they are tired of Putin and cold winters. Traditional leaders complain bitterly about the situation being decidedly unAfrican, no one listens. The US government has no complaints, as long as everyone is allowed to marry.

In a few years academics write interesting dissertations on the influence of Russian on Afrikaans and vice versa. Antjie Krog writes moving Afrikaans and English translations of Russian poetry. The anthology is a hit in Europe and Krog becomes very rich. The University of Stellenbosch want to appoint her as chancellor, she declines.

South Africa win an enormous number of medals at the next winter Olympics.